Sunday, June 26

Russia-Ukraine war latest: Russia says it will reopen Black Sea ports – live | Ukraine


Russia ‘ready to allow grain shipments if sanctions lifted’ – Rudenko

Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, in return for the lifting of some sanctions, the Interfax news agency cited Russian deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko as saying.

Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have been blocked since Russia sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February. More than 20m tonnes of grain are stuck in silos in the country, raising concerns about famine in countries dependent on the supplies.

A military vehicle in a grain field previously mined with explosives in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Western powers have been discussing the idea of ​​setting up “safe corridors” for grain exports from Ukraine’s ports, although these would need Russian consent.

“We have repeatedly stated on this point that a solution to the food problem requires a comprehensive approach, including the lifting of sanctions that have been imposed on Russian exports and financial transactions,” Rudenko was quoted as saying.

“And it also requires the demining by the Ukrainian side of all ports where ships are anchored. Russia is ready to provide the necessary humanitarian passage, which it does every day.”

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss is expected to call on Thursday for further military aid and sanctions to help Ukraine during a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

liz truss
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Russia’s aggression cannot be appeased. It must be met with strength,” Truss is expected to say, noting how appeasement of Russian president Vladimir Putin after his wars in Georgia and Crimea has not worked.

Hello. I’m Martin Farrer and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

If you’re just waking up or dropping in to catch up on what’s been happening, here are some of the latest developments:

  • Ukraine’s president and foreign minister have pleaded with the west to send more weapons to their military in the face of Russia’s intensifying assault on the eastern Donbas region. “We need the help of our partners – above all, weapons for Ukraine. Full help, without exceptions, without limits, enough to win,” Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Dmytro Kuleba told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Nato was doing “virtually nothing” to help Ukraine.
  • Russian forces have launched fresh assaults on towns in eastern Ukraine, with the city of Sievierodonetsk increasingly in danger of being totally encircled. The governor of Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said the area was now without gas supplies and had limited water and electricity after the last gas supply station was hit.
  • Russian forces shelled more than 40 other towns in Donbas on Wednesday, Ukraine’s military said, threatening to shut off the last main escape route for civilians trapped in the path of their invasion.
  • UK foreign secretary Liz Truss is expected to call on Thursday for further military aid and sanctions to help Ukraine during a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Russia’s aggression cannot be appeased. It must be met with strength,” Truss is expected to say.
  • Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Rudenko, said Moscow is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, in return for the lifting of some sanctions. Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have been blocked since Russia invaded, with more than 20 million tonnes of grain stuck in silos in the country. Kuleba, poured scorn on Moscow’s claim and accused Russia of trying to “blackmail the world”.
  • Zelenskiy rejected the notion that his country should cede territory to make peace with Russia. I have criticized a New York Times editorial that suggested Ukraine must compromise by giving up territory in exchange for peace. he said in his latest nightly address. Those who advise Ukraine to give up territory fail to see the ordinary people, he said, “who actually live in the territory they propose to exchange for the illusion of peace.”
  • Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Moscow’s plan to simplify the process of handing Russian citizenship to residents of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied regions violates international law. The ministry’s statement came after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, signed a decree simplifying the process of handing Russian citizenship to residents of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia region.
  • Russian lawmakers have voted to approve a new law that would eliminate age limits for military contract soldiers. Military experts say Russia is facing unsustainable troop and equipment losses in Ukraine after a series of military setbacks that have forced Moscow to reduce its war aims. Zelenskiy responded: “(They) no longer have enough young men, but they still have the will to fight.”
  • A senior United Nations official is due to visit Moscow in the coming days to discuss reviving fertiliser exports, Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia saidstressing that the talks were not linked to a resumption of Ukrainian grain shipments, Reuters reported.
  • Two alleged Wagner Group fighters from Belarus have been accused of murdering civilians near Kyiv, making them the first international mercenaries to face war crimes charges in Ukraine. Ukrainian prosecutors have released the names and photographs of eight men wanted for alleged war crimes – including murder and torture – in the village of Motyzhyn. Several are believed to have fought in Syria.
  • Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said it would be “much more dangerous giving in to Putin than provoking him” during a speech in Stockholm and warned: “All these seemingly small concessions to the aggressor lead to big wars. We have done this mistake already three times: Georgia, Crimea and Donbas.”
  • Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said an Italian peace plan for Ukraine was a “fantasy”. Zakharova said at her weekly briefing: “You can’t supply Ukraine with weapons with one hand and come up with plans for a peaceful resolution of the situation with the other.”


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